PLTW Alumnus Spotlight: Travis Curren
For nearly 25 years, PLTW has offered transformative classroom and learning experiences for PreK-12 students. Now, many of those students are professionals in STEM fields. We recently reached out to several PLTW alumni to learn more about their educational and career journeys and find out what advice they have for current PLTW students. If you are a PLTW alumnus interested in sharing your story, we’d love to hear from you here.
Travis Curren lives in Indiana, and works as the Manager, Individual Section (IS) Machines & Forming for Ardagh Glass Packaging - North America (AGP – North America). In high school, he completed the Introduction to Engineering Design, Principles of Engineering, Computer Integrated Manufacturing, Digital Electronics, and Engineering Design and Development courses in the PLTW Engineering program in partnership with Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT).
In what grades did you participate in PLTW?
I participated in PLTW Engineering classes from 8th-12th grade.
What were some of your most memorable experiences from PLTW?
Early courses introduced me to computer aided drafting, manufacturing using CNC mill/lathe machining code, as well as digital logic and programming.
The capstone course, Engineering Design and Development, allowed me to visit a local manufacturing facility to use the problem-solving skills I learned in PLTW to improve their compressed air service throughout the plant.
What did your journey look like to get to where you are today?
While in college in 2008, I completed a nine-month co-op with AGP – North America. After college, I joined AGP – North America as part of their Management Development Program in the Engineering Department; then progressed through roles of increased responsibility from Project Engineer, through Sr. Project Engineer, to my current role as Manager, IS Machines & Forming.
What is your current role within your company?
I manage capital maintenance projects and new machine installation projects of IS glass forming machines in AGP – NA’s facilities across the U.S.
What are your responsibilities in this position?
My role is a combination of project management – resource planning and scheduling, project engineering – new equipment layouts for operations and maintenance, accounting – budgeting and spending tracking, procurement – quoting and equipment acceptance with vendors, and team management – coordinating and motivating a dynamic team with multiple responsibilities across our facilities.
What did you learn in PLTW that still helps you today?
PLTW introduced me to computer aided drafting that I continue to use on a regular basis for equipment evaluation and layout within our facilities. It also helped me begin to understand and develop my analytical approach to solving problems.
Do you have any advice for current PLTW students?
Take as many PLTW courses as possible during your time in high school. These courses will expose you to various engineering disciplines, which can help with college planning and even a career path.
Participating in multiple courses will also help develop a well-rounded understanding of basic engineering principles across multiple disciplines.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I am thankful for the exposure to engineering offered by the PLTW program, my high school, and the engaged and enthusiastic teachers that taught these courses.
Working with my dad started my interest in engineering and manufacturing; PLTW developed my interest and gave me direction toward my college degree that, with time and hard work, has led to my current career.